ORLEANS, Mass. -- Mark Appel is pitching like the number one overall pick in the 2012 draft. He's…
2012 Draft Scouting Report: Mark Appel
Events Scouted: Team USA
Appel is about the closest thing you'll find to a prototype for a durable, front end type starter when it comes to body type. He's extra long, with particularly long legs, and has good strength and athleticism as well. Appel also has some room to grow in his upper body as he matures. He has noticeable muscularity and strength in his legs and that's where he generates most of his power. This is a very strong, well proportioned athlete with a frame seemingly designed for pitching.
Repeatable is the key word when it comes to Appel's delivery. He appears to have no problem duplicating his mechanics pitch after pitch, and despite his huge velocity, seems to have no signs of being erratic. He's not overthrowing and his lightning fast arm and lower half drive are doing all the work. Appel has a long, clean arm action and gets outstanding extension toward the plate. He dips on his back leg somewhat, but he does a fantastic job of exploding off his back leg and staying on top consistently.
How well he maintains his velocity will be a big question for Appel. His velocity fluctuated at times during his sophomore season, but if he can stay anywhere near the numbers he's putting up on radar guns with Team USA he's going to pitching in rarified air for a starting pitcher. Appel worked at 95-98 mph with the USA squad and produced the velocity with relative ease. Over the course of a 100 pitch outing it might be more reasonable to expect him to sit around 93-96 mph. But, right now he's able to pump 97 after 97 on the gun with exploding life through the zone. Working with his fastball alone, considering his good command, Appel is capable of missing bats and dominating a lineup. This is as explosive a fastball as you'll find at any level.
There are a lot of so-called sliders out there in the baseball world, but few actually fit the definition. Appel's breaking ball is one of those true sliders out there. He throws it at 84-86 mph and it projects to be a potential plus-plus pitch at the professional level. It has the appearance of a fastball out of his hand and shows sharp downward bite. He commands it well and is capable of throwing it for strikes where necessary.
In his shorter stints with the Team USA squad we haven't seen Appel's third pitch too often. But, that doesn't mean it doesn't have the makings of a quality offering. He throws it around 82-84 mph so the differential is absolutely there. He's comfortable throwing it for strikes and it looks like it could be a solid-average offering in the pros.
Appel has the stuff and profile that number one overall picks are made of. The body type, the mound presence, and the downright electric raw stuff are all there. And, he's also compiled a pretty strong track record of success. If he's healthy and continues showing this type of stuff, he's a frontrunner for the top overall pick come next June.
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